You need to exercise. I need to exercise. Everyone needs to exercise.
We know this. We also know all the many benefits of exercise:
- Hormone regulation
- Weight loss
- Better sleep
- Better sex
- Protection from disease
- The ability to burn fat more efficiently
- Balancing the earth’s chakras
Okay, that last one could be untrue, but it’s not like scientists have studied it, right?
First, let’s start with what exercise is. I know that you know but it’s good to define the absolute basics, because more than that is just more noise you don’t need in your head.
You probably know that the Department of Health & Human Services puts out guidelines for exercise every so often. You’ve probably never read them. The only reason I do is because I have to for my job and I’ll do you a favor by summarizing the basics:
Here’s what HHS Says:
- You should move more. Some activity is better than nothing and you get health benefits even if you just stand up more often. Acutally? Quite reasonable.
- If you want more benefits and more weight loss, you gotta do more than just move more. Here’s the deal:
- You should do 2.5 hours to 5 hours a week of moderate exercise (that would be like a Level 5 on this Perceived Exertion Scale) OR 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2.5 hours of higher intensity exercise (like Interval Training). OR a combination of both. That may seem confusing and it kinda is, but basically you want to do some cardio most days of the week starting with what works for you.
- For more bang for your buck, do 5 or more hours of exercise a week.
- You should also lift weights 2 or more days a week, focusing on all the muscle groups.
Okay, that pretty much sums it up and you’re probably not the least bit surprised by any of this information.
You know the guidelines. You know all the benefits. So why aren’t you doing it?
Exercise is Hard
We sit a lot. We get older. We have injuries, pain, stress, kids, life. We could list a million reasons why we just don’t have time.
The truth is, we all have time. I have time to play my Candy Crush game at the end of the day. I also have time for other things like watching Netflix. Getting a pedicure. Online shopping for things I don’t need.
It’s the VALUE of exercise that we need to focus on. It needs to matter to you…not as much as Netflix, mind you, but just enough for you to do it.
First, do a little brainstorming here. Why is exercise important to you? Is it important at all or do you just wish it were? List all the reasons you don’t exercise and then list all the reasons you should exercise.
Get inside your mind and just tell the truth: “I don’t exercise because I hate sweating.” Or “I don’t exercise because I have no idea what to do so I do nothing.”
Start SIMPLE. Too often we’re like – OMG I’m fat I have to do everything NOW. No. Your body doesn’t like that and it will rebel. Your mind will also not like this and both need to be on the same page here.
- A 5-minute walk every day
- A short stretching routine in the morning
- Anything in which your body moves rhythmically in a way you don’t hate
Whatever it is, be consistent. It doesn’t have to be running a marathon. It’s just establishing 3 important things:
- A time that you can exercise
- Knowing that this is ‘exercise time’
- Showing up even if you just do some stretches or something
Do that every day and a miracle will happen: A habit! Habit is what keeps us going, especially for the things that are challenging.
I’ll get into the mechanics of the actual exercise – cardio, strength, etc. later but, for now, this where you start.